Measuring heat with the Scoville Scale

Fresh chilies

Ever wondered just how hot one chili is compared to another?

There is actually a scale to measure the spiciness of chilies which is named after it’s creator Wilbur Scoville.  It works by measuring the levels of capsaicin present in the pepper.  Capsaicin is the chemical compound responsible for making your lips, mouth and throat burn, but it is also the substance which has shown anti-cancer properties.

Pure capsaicin has a Scoville rating of 16 million SHU (Scoville Heat Units).

Sweet peppers and bell peppers have a Scoville rating near zero as they contain very little capsaicin.

At the low end of the scale are Jalapenos with between 3,500 – 8,000 SHU.habanero chilis

Bird’s eye chilies have ratings of 50,000 – 100,000 SHU.

Chilies like the Habanero and Scotch Bonnet have ratings of 100,000 – 350,000 SHU.

At the top end of the scale are the Naga Viper, Ghost chili (Naga Jolokia), Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, and Super Naga with Scoville ratings of 850,000 – 1,500,000 SHUs!

The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T is currently the hottest chili in the world.

There is a guy on Youtube who calls himself the Fire Breathing Idiot.  Idiot is right.  In this video he rubs the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chili pepper into his eyes!  Please do not try this at home (as if you needed the warning).

Rubbing Trinidad Scorpion Chili into his eyes

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About Andy Williams

In a processed food culture, simply eating may not be enough. Andy Williams, B.SC., Ph.D. is a scientist with a strong interest in Juicing and how it can supply the body with the nutrients it needs to thrive in modern society. You can subscribe to his free daily paper called Juicing The Rainbow and follow him on Facebook orTwitter. You can also follow me on Google +

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